Matters Of The Brain

It’s ironic that society puts so much pressure on one to be “intelligent”, “smart” or “clever” but when one actually displays such qualities, they are ostracized. Names like “teacher’s pet”, “smart-aleck”, “show-off”, “know-it-all” are thrown at them and in turn, they withdraw or keep their thoughts to themselves.

I’m going to say something that’s considered socially unacceptable, and that is I’m one of them. I have the fortune of being gifted intellectually and emotionally. As a young child, I started out a little slow academically but I soon caught up pretty fast, though never the top of the class I performed mostly above average.

But what I believe I excelled at from the start was emotional intelligence. I could predict the motives, thought-process and next course of action for most people. Having this skill enabled me to carefully plan what I could say or do to elicit a response or action that was favourable. This might sound manipulative and probably is, but often high emotional intelligence comes with strong empathy, which kept me in check from being a psychopathic manipulator.

But this gift soon revealed itself to be double-edged sword. Being able to understand emotional and social dynamics meant that I often had to censor what I say. I’ve struggled my whole life making and keeping friends as I was never sure what could or could not be said lest I offend or rub others the wrong way. So with these thoughts never leaving my mind, they fester and disfigure into the creeping ghoul known as loneliness.

When I say I’m lonely, I don’t mean to say I repel people, but I feel alone around people. Finding someone who’s interested to listen, discuss and reciprocate my thoughts is a hard task. And I try when I can, I test grounds, I initiate openings to deeper conversations. But more often than not, the playing field end up destroyed by a barrage of biased opinions and arguments that ceased any hope for two-way non-biased debate.

People get defensive or clam up when a controversial or non-aligning topic is brought up. Or they’d rather not think about it because it doesn’t concern them. Sometimes I envy them, when ignorance is bliss. What must it be like to live life only having to think or worry about what’s in front of you.

What I crave for is profound relationships. Granted, technology has created many new avenues for this – Reddit communities, Facebook groups, discussion boards, public blogs. But it’s a far cry from face-to-face interaction where you get the whole experience of assessing verbal and non-verbal communication. It’s much more rewarding seeing someone in the flesh speaking passionately about something. There’s a certain adrenaline rush when partaking in real-time discussions and intellectual discourse, when the mind gets stimulated. Sounds like an addiction, because it is.

I recently interviewed a brilliant young person who said that he was addicted to mental stimulation. So he challenged himself to learn all the things he was passionate about – coding, poetry writing, music, video creation. He fascinated me a great deal. I was ready to hire him but he wasn’t ready to commit to a full-time corporate job. And I could understand why.

But what he said about being addicted stuck with me. It was true. I find myself incessantly looking for articles, videos, movies, books, TV shows, experiences, anything that could trigger that rush of dopamine. There are times I have to force myself to stop to allow some downtime for mindless activities. Would I call it a curse? Maybe, but I could never imagine living life differently.

Could this be the infamous paradox that the more intelligence one has, the more lonely one feels? Again, this is not lonely in the physical sense. It’s matters of the brain. If anyone reading this feels I’m in any way bragging, being condescending or self-important, I’m not. If you know me personally, you’ll know I’ll never cross that line.

And you probably wonder why don’t I just go out and find people who are like-minded. Well, I ask myself that every day. I enjoy and greatly value alone time. At this moment in my life, going out to socialise is an arduous task. Torn between giving time to myself and this, I’ll just have to settle with writing for now.




2017: Flights & Fights

I remember a time in my life when I used to feel miserable when I didn’t have any plans for Christmas and New Years. I had barely broken through the shell of adolescence and was burgeoning with the desire for self-discovery and experimentation. So, I made it a point to never have no plans.

And plans I made. It included everything that I was curious about – people, places, experiences, parties, ambiguous edible things, whatever the world offered me. All with a pinch of responsibility of course (pros of having anxiety, it keeps me in check). There wasn’t anything that was left unturned.

Yet on this very last day of 2017, I’m sitting alone in my bedroom writing this while the family whose house I’m renting a room from, is laughing joyously and clinking glasses downstairs. I have no plans of joining them nor am I going out.

So, it comes to full circle. Clad in pyjamas, with not a single drop of alcohol in my body, writing on New Years eve about how I feel about having no plans.

But here’s what’s different – I don’t feel miserable. Sure, I’ve teared up a bit calibrating my thoughts to write this (that’s for another blog post), but here I am unaffected by my apathy for the festivities.

Heck, I’ve come a long way. So, let’s do what we all do when the end of a year rolls around.


This I came to discover as I was going through clinical depression. Yes it’s hard and it’s easy to give in, to lose hope, to relinquish control to doctors and medication. But truth is, it really is all you. I think we sometimes underestimate how much power we hold in ourselves. Here I learnt how much is achievable when you really put your mind to it.

I think 2017 was the year I carpe the hell out of the diem. I quit my dream job as a copywriter, tapered off my depression meds without telling my psychiatrist, dragged myself to gym at 7AM for three months, recklessly booked trips to Japan and Europe barely a week apart to rest (it was hellishly exhausting, I will probably never do it again), bared my soul to my therapist, splurged on a PS4 (best decision ever) and challenged myself in every way at my new job. I’m still shucking oysters to find my pearl but at least I’ve got oysters to eat.

It’s natural for us to be averse to discomfort or uncertainty. It’s human nature. But I learnt that when you rise above that, you really see the forest for the trees. There’s no greater teacher than pain or mistakes.

There’s no better person to tell you who you are than yourself. When talking to people, I found it odd that many can’t describe what are their passions, strengths or purpose. My journey with depression gave me the opportunity to dig deep into my fears, worries and uncertainty. And because of that it helped me see who I really am – flaws, faults and all. Hard to accept sure, but when you know what your shortcomings are, you’ll know your strengths.

And my resolutions for 2018? I don’t know, that list is ever growing.



Seeing Things Different

So much has happened in the past year. Every now and then I’d come back and read what I’ve written over the years and be content with the growth I see in myself. But for some reason now, it all seems so foreign. Like it had been written by someone else. Where did that person go?

I always thought after getting past my mid-20s I’d somewhat figured out how to navigate life. But truth is, I’m turning 27 this year and I’ve never felt more uncertain.

I find myself going back to the days of my younger 20s to try and relive the feelings; what was it like then? What was going through my head at that time? Was I always this restless and uncertain?

Another thing that constantly plays in my head is the resentment I hold towards myself for falling into depression. Why did I allow myself to spiral down that way? I wish every day that things could go back to the way it was before. Even after having gone through it and coming out better, things seem different now. Like life has lost its glow. Its beauty tarnished. Everything feels too raw and real.

Part of me thinks that this is probably irreversible. It’s either improvise or settle from here on. But I don’t like settling so I’ve been trying to improvise life as much as I can. From quitting my job to going for yoga to eating healthier, it’s been more of taking things one step at a time than looking at the bigger picture.

But it is a struggle. It’s hard not to think ahead. Especially when I’m nearing my 30s and I want to achieve things I’ve set out for myself. It’s a challenge and one that I never thought I’d have to face.

Still I try to stay optimistic and tell myself that I’ve come through so far and somewhere deep inside I kinda feel that we’re almost near the end.




Comfort Writing

Writing has always been a large part of me. I have discovered at a very early age that writing gives me great joy and satisfaction. Every time I write, I marvel at the way words seem to spew from my fingertips. It is a gift or rather, a passion that I never take for granted.

But at the cost of that gift, there exist this insecurity of never living up to the standards of where you think your favourite writers are at. And ever since becoming a copywriter, that insecurity has bloomed even more.

I get that not everyone will like what you write but to be judged for your writing, it’s unnerving.

There are times after several rejections when I start to wonder; am I even fit to be a writer, maybe writing isn’t my thing after all, maybe I convinced myself that this is a thing that I’m good at.

But I don’t know, this could perhaps be my anxiety talking. Or it’s just normal writer-ly self-doubt.

However, I do know one thing – it’s that words, no matter how they’re sewn together, will always give me comfort.



The Write-off

In the early hours of the morning, often an hour or two before my alarm goes off, my mind wakes up. It’s not because of some natural biological clock kicking into gear to alert me that a new day is about to begin.

It’s some twisted way of my mind getting back at me for the years of abuse. It’s a disgruntled kick in the gut for the constant questioning and doubt. The vengeful need to heckle at myself for not giving myself a chance.

A chance to concede. A chance to accept. A chance to take a break.

God knows how much I lament any excuse for not being useful. For not being productive. For not continuously seeking to improve myself. Oh, the need to imbibe myself with knowledge.

I wish I was bragging but I’m not. This never ending quest to better myself leaves me in a loop of forever opening doors and never closing them.

I find myself looking for ways to escape the realities of what I thrust myself into. To lose myself in an abyss of apathy and free fall. How does it feel to not care?

But I’m trying. As long as I do, that’s all that matters.

Don’t Look

Could you drive without seeing
If it could all be hidden
Your sight free from all
An absence of light
A drive lit by a million
Pinpricks of thoughts
On a road of
A thousand meanings
That leads to a place
Words cannot describe
A place your eyes
Can never picture
A place your
Heart knows only of


Wake me like how the morning light
Wakes the earliest of birds
Touch my hair like how the breeze
Caresses the still leaves
Kiss me as softly as the plop
Of morning dew on the earth
Hug me like the warm welcome
Of a fire on a chilly day
Hold my hand like the intertwined roots
Of an ancient tree with a story to tell
Be the first light of my every day
Be the last star of my every night